More Proof of Jewish Historical Title to Israel
by Dr. Richard L. Benkin
On October 3, 2009, Weekly Blitz published news about a discovery by Egyptian researchers that supports Jewish claims to the Land of Israel. The findings provided physical evidence of the biblical narrative about Joseph and the Israelites. According to the Bible, Joseph was a Hebrew who became second in command to Pharaoh and saved Egypt from a great famine by following God's prophecies. The Egyptian researchers uncovered ancient coins that were in use during Pharoaic times; coins that featured a likeness of Abrahams' great-grandson along with "his two names: Saba Sabani, the Egyptian name Pharaoh gave him when he became Egypt's treasurer; and his 'original name, Joseph.' That is, his Hebrew name, which reinforces the Torah's narrative that Joseph was a Hebrew and not an Egyptian or member of some other tribe. Thus, the coin establishes the Jewish people's presence in the Middle East in ancient times." Now, we have more physical proof of the Jewish presence in the ancient near east—this time in the Land of Israel itself.
A professor of Biblical studies at the University of Haifa in Israel has translated an inscription discovered a year and a half ago on a pottery shard. The inscription has been dated to be about three thousand years old—which would place it at the time which the Jewish Bible identifies as that when a great Israelite Kingdom reigned and had dominion throughout territories that include all or part of today's Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. It has long been a canon of faith among the anti-Israel crowd, and especially Arabs and Muslims, that no Hebrew kingdom ever existed in the Middle East; and that any kingdoms that did exist were those of any number of pre-Islamic tribes, but certainly not any that stand in a line that supports the contention of a Jewish claim to Israel and Jerusalem. King David is especially mentioned by them as having no historical reality.
The inscription, however, has been placed at the time and place where the Bible says David ruled, and Professor Gershon Galil has proven the inscription to be ancient Hebrew, thus making it the earliest known example of Hebrew writing. It was written in ink on a 15x16.5cm trapezoid pottery shard, was discovered a year and a half ago at excavations that were carried out by Professor Yosef Garfinkel near the Elah valley, south of Jerusalem, and west of Hevron; that is, in the heart of what was then David's Kingdom and what is today Judea and Samaria, the heart of the Middle East controversy.
While the previous researchers were able to date the shards, it was not until very recently that Professor Galil was able to decipher the inscription and prove that it was beyond a shadow of a doubt ancient Hebrew and not some other Semitic language.
"This text is a social statement," he said, "relating to slaves, widows and orphans. It uses verbs that were characteristic of Hebrew, such as "asah" (did) and "avad" (worked), which were rarely used in other regional languages. Particular words that appear in the text, such as "almana" (widow) are specific to Hebrew and are written differently in other local languages. The content itself was also unfamiliar to all the cultures in the region besides the Hebrew society: The present inscription provides social elements similar to those found in the Biblical prophecies and very different from prophecies written by other cultures postulating glorification of the gods and taking care of their physical needs"
Galil took note of the fact that the discovery was made not in an ancient urban Israelite center like Jerusalem or Hebron, but rather in a provincial Judean town. If there were scribes there, he said, like those responsible for the writing on the pottery shards, those urban centers would have been home to far more proficient scribes during "the reign of King David [capable of writing] literary texts and complex historiographies such as the [biblical] books of Judges and Samuel." Galil also noted that the text on the shards was rather complex, not simple, and that the fortifications uncovered at the excavation site were advanced and impressive. All of this, he said, was an even stronger refutation of those who try deny the existence of the Kingdom of Israel at that time.
Finally, the inscription on the pottery shard expresses a social ethic that simply was not found in any known inscriptions by other peoples of the time. It demands that the people take care of the weak and defenseless among them, as well as the stranger among them:
" you shall not do [it], but worship the [Lord].
Now read the following from the Torah, the Jewish holy book:
"You shall not ill-treat any widow or orphan." (Exodus 22:21)
"And you are to love the stranger, for you yourselves were strangers in Egypt." (Deuteronomy 10:19)
"You shall not render an unfair decision: do not favor the poor or show deference to the rich." (Leviticus 19:17)
Thanks to Israel National News for some of the material used.
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